Become defensive when someone else suggests you might have done something even remotely morally wrong

But making mistakes is how we learn. She realized that a simple question can trigger a simple response that’s appropriate in one environment and completely wrong in another. On her next trip back, when she met with a group of villagers and was asked about her job, Sachi said, Mostly technical stuff. There’s a lot of travel. That part is tough. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life was published on November 24, 1859. Even in its final form, Origin seemed to be written with Robert Fitzroy in mind. It was a plodding, scientifically based answer to Fitzroy and his ilk–and interestingly, one that did not cut God out of the equation at all. It simply reframed where God’s intervention happened. In the publication of his theory, Darwin had indeed taken the third way. Not either- or, but both-and. He did not erase God from the picture. Desmond and Moore describe his view perfectly: Wild animals are not a product of God’s whim any more than planets are held up by his will. Everything results from grand laws–laws that `should exalt our notion of the power of the omniscient Creator. This was a modified Unitarian view of the Divine government. he’d say in a sarcastic mood. That’s you bleeding me dry. ) Sam was so negative, she decided she’d wring pleasure from wherever she could; she wasn’t going to deny herself everything out of fear of his reaction. And who knew?

Maybe a pleasing environment would buoy his mood. In any case, she knew she had to do something to bring in more light. Sam respected his wife’s efficiency. He appreciated the energy she invested in jump-starting their remodeling plans. He even recognized that a piece of valuable property such as theirs deserved some improvements. The Athenian leader Perikles points to it when he uses the word idiot or idiotes in his famous Funeral Oration. The ancient meaning ofidiot’ was someone who believes they can live only for themselves, who thinks they do best on their own. Perikles argues that the idiot has no right to regard him- or herself as a citizen, since to be a citizen is to acknowledge your dependency upon the collective that is society. Only gods and beasts can live alone, Aristotle noted. This observation would also help to explain why losing a friend can be so painful: you lose part of yourself. And if you fall out with a friend, and lose them that way, the pain is doubled: you are implicitly saying to yourself, I do not like the person I have become, even as you say to your former friend, I do not like the person you are. Such a dynamic puts friendship in primary place in any account of human flourishing. It’s saying more than just that a close friend is a mirror of your own independent self, someone in whom you find personal resonances, thereby realising that though autonomous, you are not alone; there is someone quite like you. It’s implying that a close friend is another part of you and that you can only fully become who you are in who they are too. And then she turned her considerable charm and attention to ask about their lives. Sachi did what anyone would do with a heightened awareness of the environment. She was adjusting. If you’ve ever made a thoughtless but seemingly innocent comment to a loved one or colleague that escalated into a World War III argument or irreparably hurt feelings, you know what I’m talking about. I privately refer to this attitude in my clients as the dramatic narrative fallacy – the notion that we have to spice up our day by accepting more, if not all, challenges, as if our life resembled a TV drama where the script says we overcome seemingly insurmountable odds rather than avoid them.

That’s okay for recreational pursuits, like training for a triathlon. But life becomes exhaustingly risky if we apply that attitude to everything. Sometimes the better part of valor – and common sense – is saying, I’ll pass. Golfers believe a boring round of golf is a great round of golf. You drive the ball into the fairway, hit your next shot onto the green not too far from the pin, then sink your first putt for birdie or your second putt for par. (Emphasis added. ) Darwin saw that the very laws themselves, their implacable nature, their genius, should exalt the Creator. Individual acts of Divine and miraculous intervention were not needed. In this, we can see one of Darwin’s great strengths at work: He knew how to maintain his perspective. 13 Perspective. This is one final trait of adversarial intelligence that Darwin would find absolutely essential–though he certainly did not entirely master this one. Perspective, say Dr Stoltz and others, is the most effective tool against emotional overwhelm. A global perspective creates and supports so-called fluid intelligence, or thinking outside the box, using the whole brain–not succumbing to the tunnel vision of fight or flight, or panic-driven action. It was hard for him to admit, but he secretly felt a little relieved that Willa could mobilize on something that required such an exorbitant outlay, knowing that left to his own devices he’d languish in paralysis. Yet as a result of the remodel, he was even more crushed by money worries than before and more tightly tethered to his hated job. Predictably, the scope of the improvements had ballooned, the delays had lengthened, and they’d had to move out of their house for an inauspicious thirteen months. Now, with construction finally completed and their savings duly drained, Willa was suddenly talking as if landscaping their garden was an immediate necessity. Where was that money going to come from?

Evidently straight out of his hide, in longer hours, ass kissing, and the bad diet and insomnia that went along with them. She was even on the brink of insisting he get rid of his chair. In proof that no good deed goes unpunished, his willingness to defer to her had convinced Willa that it was her house now, and he was henceforth expected to live with her high-handed decrees about bulb wattage, cleaning methodology, and even where he was allowed to relax. When Willa and Sam showed up at my office, they weren’t exactly on the same article about whether to spend money on therapy. For Sam, therapy was one more item in a long list of expensive goods and services that Willa seemed to require to feel good about her life. Nietzsche was rather nervous of these collapses of selfhood into another, even if a good friend. Perhaps it was his experience with Wagner that made him resistant; he did not want tocon-found the I and Thou’. So, for him,another self’ must also carry the implication that friends are stillother’ to each other too. In the movie, the relationship begins unpromisingly when Whale asks Boone to sit for him as a model, under the ruse that Boone has an artistically fascinating face. It is a gratuitous come-on though it provokes Boone into reflecting a little on himself and his life. Something deeper between them begins to emerge when, at a second sitting, they realise that, for all their differences, they have something in common; they are both originally from poor families. Whale has kept this hidden from his starry Hollywoodfriends’, a dissimulation that he is awakened to in the openness of Boone’s facethat makes me want to tell the truth’. Trust grows, and they confess their greatest secrets to each other: Whale relives the painful story of the great love of his life and Boone reveals his shame that he never saw action as a Marine. Then you walk to the next tee and do it again. Do this for eighteen holes and you’ll either shoot a personal best or break the course record. Given the choice, golfers will take a dull round of that caliber over a dramatic roller coaster every time. Let’s review what we’ve learned so far. I’ve taken the position that there is no harder task for adults than changing our behavior.

We are geniuses at coming up with reasons to avoid change. We make excuses. We rationalize. We harbor beliefs that trigger all manner of denial and resistance. As a result, we continually fail at becoming the person we want to be. The very opposite of perspective, as Stoltz notes in his Adversity Quotient Profile, is something we might call catastrophizing. This happens when we become caught up in the grip of fear about what might become of our efforts. This is Chicken Little Syndrome: The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Darwin was not immune to catastrophizing. Indeed, he did quite a bit of it–though in the end, he almost always regained a more global perspective. Are you a catastrophizer? Quite honestly, I am, and I come from a whole line of great catastrophizers. So I know for a fact: this trait is not helpful in facing adversity. Mark Twain–another world-class catastrophizer–is reported to have said: I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. Each of those goods and services was paid for by a job he despised, at a cost to his emotional and physical health. For Willa, Sam’s reluctance to try to work on their relationship was just one more way he shut her down and dismissed the importance of feeling close and connected in their marriage. Having spent an admittedly shocking amount of money to make their family home more comfortable, she feared that Sam would insist on keeping their emotional life dark and dingy. She was trying so hard to find a way to be happy together. As I began to try to understand Sam and Willa’s problem, I knew that I shared the same bourgeois social apparatus.

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